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Old 09-03-2014, 01:32 PM   #1
groop OP
So much to ponder
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Paint vs. Powder Coat

I know, I know, this has been discussed before, but I wanted to throw it out there for the vintage guys, specifically mid-'60s Triumphs.

I have a frame, swing arm, and some black bits that need to be refinished for a restoration that I am doing. When I say 'restoration', I mean more of a 'almost restoration'. I'm not buying all new nuts and bolts, but I am cleaning up and/or replating everything.

I want the frame to shine, but not so much that it looks overdone. I have heard must of the pros/cons to powder coating, but wanted to see what everyone thought. I am not bad with a rattle can and have no issues paying a powder coater to do the work either. It's the finished product that I am worried about.

Won't be a show bike or daily rider, but somewhere in between.
BTW, I'm in Southern California, so I may not have access to the really good stuff unless I can get it by mail. So, if it were your decision, would you paint or PC and why?

Because I know everyone likes 'before' photos
Because you cannot eat a salad with a spork.
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Old 09-03-2014, 01:50 PM   #2
Speed King
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Ill tell you powder can't be beat for looks, durability and low maintenance. But I have painted frames with Eastwood Chassis Black and have been amazed by the quality and durability of the finish. Plus it's easy to touch up if you have to.It's like a semi gloss black, poof can, lays down nice.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:25 PM   #3
Married Man
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I've done both. A local powder coater did a great job on an R100RS frame and parts for me. I've also used POR15 which is tough as nails and looks good that I used on an R100RT. They have a coating that is not UV sensitive and you can spray it or brush it. The Eastwood product sounds similar. There is something nice (and lazy) about having the coating done for you. It's like your birthday when you pick up those nicely finished pieces.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:56 PM   #4
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Powder coating is durable looks great and its a way of escape from what can be a time consuming task.
You strip the bike gather up the bits needing coating drop them off and collect them done and dusted, but at a price.
Now painting a frame yourself is not free, you could be doing something else on the bike if you had dropped it at the powder coaters.
Now i used to be a powder coat fan, when i was buying and selling a few bikes, it was all sown in to the budget and you got a great result that looked ace and helped sell the bike.
These days i sell and buy bikes very rarely, and most i have are cheap work bikes trail bikes or chrome framed trials bikes, i constantly look to keep costs right down, and above all a project is something i want to do for the sake of doing it not just the end result.
I recognise the limitations of painting frames etc, most probably 2k paint would be the most durable of spray paints, but i do like cellulose paint myself.
It is hard paint polishes up nice but chips very easy, but its simple and effective to manage and maintain provided you clean it thourghtly before touch up running repairs.
I have tried synthetic paints but these never pollish up that well and are soft and just look cheap in my opinion.
I will stick my neck out and say i like cellulose paint, i have used it for years and it looks nice if you do it properly.
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Old 09-03-2014, 04:09 PM   #5
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I use and will probably continue to use a powder coater. Lots less time involved for me, drop off and pick up later. The finish in my opinion is tougher. Go with a satin finish so it won't be too shiny against your other bits.

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Old 09-03-2014, 08:45 PM   #6
What could go wrong?
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I'm on my 3rd restoration and have powder coated all the frames, swing arms and brackets. My next build will be powder coated too.
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Just another pathetic sheep following the herd

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Old 09-04-2014, 12:39 AM   #7
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Por15 on my bmw r75 frame and very happy, the only frame i ever had powder coated was a matchless G80[1954] and that looked nice but as the frame was a bolt up/together frame it didnt fit back until all the mating faces had the powder coat removed.
The por 15 worked great and was a brush on[self levels like 2k]
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Old 09-04-2014, 05:20 AM   #8
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I like the sound of that POR 15, you have got my attention now, i have seen it know where i can buy it and i think i am going to try it on my Russian trials project.
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:29 AM   #9
groop OP
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I used POR15 on an old truck I was restoring. Back then folks would choose POR15 if rust was a potential issue, as it encapsulated the surface. In the case of the bike, rust is not a concern. Is the UV stabilized POR15 that much better than a good 2K rattle can?
Because you cannot eat a salad with a spork.
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:13 AM   #10
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PC is great for frames etc that get a lot of road dirt sand blasting. Much tougher than conventional paint. The few bikes I've restored. a couple I've had the frame and hdw PC'd. Very happy but I'm in a rural area w/no local coater so shipping the frame adds to the cost. The last few frames I did was with "PJ1 Coatings Fast Black Epoxy Paint". Looks and wears great. Comes in a rattle so it's easy to use if you're not in a big hurry. "It has a slow cure time". Here in the PNW temps are in the low 50's at night in mid summer which doesn't help cure time. In my garage I'll leave the frame alone and let it cure a good week before bolting the motor etc back in. Let it cure and it's near PC hard. Lot cheaper than shipping a frame to a coater.
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:28 AM   #11
groop OP
So much to ponder
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Met with a powder coater that has a shop a few blocks from my house. I'm dropping off the frame, subframe and swingarm off today. I'll post up some photos
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:33 AM   #12
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anything that is going to get pelted with road grit and gravel will last many times longer with powder coat or a bedliner product like line-x than with paint.i tend to do paint and then protect those areas with bedliner - both are easy touchup.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:24 AM   #13
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I think the ultimate answer to the Paint vs Powder Coat question comes down to -
what do you really want do do with your bike? If you want a tough, permanent
coating that you never really have to worry about and intend to ride the bike, then
powder coating isn't a bad idea at all.

But, if you intend to restore the bike to it's original or near original look, then you'll
want to paint it. Especially if you're going to show it at a concours type event. Unless
it rolled off the factory floor powder coated, then stick with paint in this case.

That's the issue I'm faced with right now. I recently bought a mid 70's Yamaha Enduro
that I want to restore. Not looking to ride it on the street - maybe up the road to the
mailbox & back - but I would like to show it. However, the last owner powder coated
most of it. He did a great job, and it looks factory but they didn't do that in 1974. So,
I'm looking at re-blasting & painting.

Also, a tad OT, but one thing I've noticed about powder coating is that when it does
chip, and it will chip if you get a good enough rock ding, that stuff will start to peel.
The nerf bars on my pickup are badly chipped behind the front wheels and in front of
the back wheels where the rocks have been bouncing off. Granted, manufacturers
nowadays don't spend the $$$ to have a really good coat sprayed on, but just enough
to say it's "Powder Coated" and sell it. I'd really like to get them blasted off and have
Line-X sprayed on.

Hmm, I wonder what a motorcycle would look like with Line-X on it.......
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Old 09-07-2014, 07:34 PM   #14
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I'm not a big fan of powder coating. I think it was developed as a solution for high volume production because parts didn't need to be finished as well - PC hides a lot of imperfection.

Also, it chips, and then the metal can start rusting underneath the coating. I've got an R100RS that came from San Francisco that has a PCed frame. I chipped off large chunks of the stuff with rust underneath. Looked good still, and I wouldn't have known, but once I started cleaning up one spot, it would cover a much larger area.

So I need to disassemble the bike, remove the PC, clean up any more rust that's taken hold, and paint.

I've heard Urethane is extremely durable. But I do like the POR route. Any comments on the UV degradation that can occur? I'm a little leery of that issue.
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:15 AM   #15
SILENCE.....i kill you
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All my bikes except my Guzzi (and it was painted, just not with rattle can)have had the frames rattle can painted. Rustoleum enamel. It's tough once cured. I've had zero problems with any of these painted frames and some of them have been in service for 20 years now. Cheap and easy to touch up. I'd be happy to post a pic up of any of the frames if you wish.

I do not like powder. Expensive, all the messing around removing every bushing etc. making sure holes are masked or then re-tapping. Heaven forbid if it starts to separate. And most times the gloss black used is just way to glossy for a resto. Stock frames on any bike were never that glossy. Don't over restore it!
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